CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 18: Joe Flacco #19 of the New York Jets passes the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

Last Sunday was truly a celebration for the New York Jets in their comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns.  This Sunday, however, was a return to normalcy for the Green & White fans as the Jets fell victim to the Cincinnati Bengals.  Wait a minute, the Bengals were 0-2 and looked to be a team that could be beaten?  Well, remember this folks – these were the same reigning AFC champion Bengals who almost pulled off a Super Bowl win and the Bengal Tigers woke up yesterday to feast on the hapless Jets.

What went wrong?

This is probably a rhetorical question but pretty much everything went wrong in the Jets loss to the Bengals 27-12.  Kicker Greg Zuerlein was the only bright spot for the Jets yesterday and went four for four on field goals with all of them over 40 yards and two kicks at 50+ plus yards.  Kudos to Zuerlein for keeping this game from being a shutout.

Quarterback Joe Flacco didn’t have any of this magic from last weekend in Cleveland follow him back home to MetLife Stadium.  Flacco looked like an old QB trying to fight his way out of a paper bag yesterday and went 28 for 52 for 285 yards and two INT’s.  Now it’s not fair to blame yesterday’s loss solely on the shoulders of Flacco who did get sacked four times and two lost fumbles were chalked up by the offense as well.  In reality, the only offense was how offensive the Jets really looked when they had the ball.  Bengals DE Trey Hendrickson had his way with the Jets O line and chalked up 2.5 sacks and four QB hits which shows that Flacco mainly tried to stay alive and in one piece yesterday.

Offensive injuries to WR Garrett Wilson and OT George Fant didn’t help the Gang Green cause either.  RB Michael Carter went from a career game with 172 yards rusing last week to just 76 yards on 20 carries which generated a paltry 3.8 yards per attempt.  The Bengals essentially grounded the Jets rushing game yesterday.

Defensively, the Jets could only get to Joe Burrow and sack him twice on Sunday.  This is the same QB who’s been sacked 13 times in the first two games of the NFL season and the Jets basically let the other “Joe Cool” have his way with the Jets secondary.  LB Quincy Williams was also taken off the field with a probably knee injury and just like last season, the Jets wheels are starting to come off one by one.

What is in store for next week vs. the Steelers?

I think it’s safe to say that every Jets fan, along with the entire Jets organization, is hoping and probably praying to your deity of choice that Zach Wilson makes it back in time for the Steelers game next week.  Flacco has been a trooper as usual in stepping in to fill the gap left by Wilson’s injury and provided a big victory for the Jets.  However, that big victory can’t overshadow two big losses and the Jets are already in a hole after Week Three of the NFL season.

The Jets have been gingerly getting Wilson back in shape and ready to take over the QB helm but not rushing him either to force another quick injury.  Divisional play begins the following week and a big win against the Steeler would leave the Jets at a manageable 2-2.  However, another big loss this coming Sunday will force the Jets to the bottom of the AFC East early on and facing a red-hot Miami Dolphins right out of the gate in divisional play could foreshadow nothing but air turbulence for the Jets for the remainder of the season.  In all reality, the future of this season hinges on what happens against the Steelers.

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